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Notes on Emerging Collective Action: Ethnic-Trade Guilds among Japanese Americans in the Gardening Industry

Ronald Tadao Tsukashima
The International Migration Review
Vol. 32, No. 2 (Summer, 1998), pp. 374-400
DOI: 10.2307/2547188
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2547188
Page Count: 27
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Notes on Emerging Collective Action: Ethnic-Trade Guilds among Japanese Americans in the Gardening Industry
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Abstract

This inquiry focuses upon one form of ethnic-collective action among Japanese-American entrepreneurs - in-group trade guilds. They emerge in response to exclusionary and inclusionary forces. The article extends middleman theory to account for ethnic-trade guilds that result from both exclusionary and inclusionary forces and proposes two additional perspectives - competition and enclave theory. Three factors are isolated: 1) interethnic competition, 2) the perceived reciprocal fairness of the resulting competition, and 3) the differential cohesion of ethnic networks. Although the findings support the first and third conditions, the second is questionable. Evidence suggests that ethnic-trade guilds engender more conflict (when competition is defined as unfair rather than fair) than heretofore proposed. Ethnic networks that extend beyond the narrow circle of niche participants constitute the primary building blocks in mobilizing a collective response to intergroup competition. Caution needs to be taken in overstating ethnic solidarity at the expense of a group's diversity, and an explanation of internal dissension is called for in interpreting the emergence of ethnic-collective action.

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